Christophe Pourcel came to America after a
successful career in Europe, and in 2009 and
2010, Christophe won the 250 East Supercross
Championship and came heartbreakingly close to
winning the 2009 and 2010 250 Outdoor National
titles as well. Assuming that Team Kawasaki would
hire him in 2011 as a 450 rider (based on the fact that
they had moved former 250 Supercross winners to the
factory team), Pourcel didn’t pursue any other deals.
But, Kawasaki never called. It didn’t help Pourcel’s
cause that he reportedly wanted $1.5 million for 2011.
Whether Pourcel actually asked for $1.5 million is
incidental, because he got no offers and ended up on
the privateer MotoConcepts Yamaha team. That ride
was short-lived, and Pourcel moved back to the GP
series for an uneventful 2012 season. He is rumored
to be making a return to the AMA Nationals in 2014
with Valli Yamaha.
In 2007, Josh Coppins was hand-picked to fill the
big shoes left by 10-time champion Stefan Everts at
Team Yamaha. The New Zealander started the season
like gangbusters, and in the first 10 GPs made the
podium at every event and won five GPs outright.
Coppins went into round 11 with an almost
unbeatable 107-point lead with five races left.
Unfortunately, a crash damaged Coppins’ left shoulder.
He tried to ride injured but lost the 450 GP title to
Steven Ramon—even though Ramon didn’t win a
single GP in 2007.
MIKE ALESSI’S KILL-
Mike Alessi has had a bumpy ride in the AMA
Pro ranks. The former minicycle champion has been
at the center of controversies that have been
bracketed by the “Believe the Hype” T-shirts and the
2013 Laser-Gate incident at Washougal. But what
really derailed Mike’s career and turned the fans and
industry against him was the 2005 kill-button incident
at Glen Helen. Mike went into the final race of the
2005 125 National Championship 35 points behind Pro
Circuit’s Ivan Tedesco, but after Tedesco DNF’ed the
first moto, the points spread between the two was
reduced to 10 points. Then, when Alessi and Tedesco
crashed into each other at the end of the infamous
“Muddy Straight,” Mike stood on Tedesco’s bike so
that Ivan couldn’t pick it up and made an obvious
move to hit Tedesco’s kill button. In the end, Tedesco
won the 2005 125 title, even though he went 21-11 at
Glen Helen. As for Mike Alessi, he was disqualified
for the day for “engaging in an activity detrimental to
the sport.” Worst of all, he will be known as a cheater
for the rest of his career.
JOSH COPPINS’ SHOULDER
Josh Hill’s professional motocross career was
derailed when in June of 2010 he attempted a
backflip in preparation for the X Games. On his
second attempt, Hill was ejected from the bike and
broke his right femur, right humerus and pelvis, and
collapsed a lung. Although Josh returned to racing
after two years of recovery, he is no longer on the
factory teams’ radar. ❏
JOSH HILL’S FAILED BACKFLIP